I'm a shop steward for TNG-CWA Local 32035. (Any help with tags and with diary etiquette is most appreciated.)
I'm sure you remember the 2002 phone jamming scandal in New Hampshire.
Sununu got elected by 20,000 votes -- I'm honestly not sure if the phone jamming was enough to put Sununu over the top or not. But it helped, and everyone knew it was going to be a close race.
But now the stakes are much bigger for the Republicans. They're outgunned, both in terms of candidate charisma and in cash on hand. The polls show them anywhere from 5 to 10 points down, and losing in several battleground states.
So why not engage in a little phone jamming? It can help lower Democratic turnout. It's easy, and most importantly for McCain's team, it's cheap. Hence the robo-calls.
Traditional voter suppression will be a bit tougher this go-around than in 2004, what with increased Democratic vigilance, more prevalent early voting, and some red to blue flips in important states.
This (phone jamming) is also not something I've seen anyone really discuss on here, but I'd be surprised if the Obama staff has raised the possibility at mid and high-level meetings. Personal cell phone could also help mitigate this in a way that was not possible in 2002.
I could be entirely wrong about the potential for this, but I would be surprised if some of the 'black ops' among the McCain camp have not discussed the possibility. What do they have to lose, facing massive losses on all three fronts (Pres, Sen, and House?)
Indiana seems to be a prime target for this. Mitch Daniels could use the help, and McCain didn't even bother to set up a campaign operation there. More importantly, it is an early-reporting state. If the state stays yellow for too long, Republicans might start losing some heart.
Ditto for the Dakotas and Montana, three states that Obama is making closer than Democrats have in the past, and where McCain hasn't really bothered to set up an operation. I don't think any of the downticket races in those states are in danger, but it couldn't help.
McCain has done his best to offend Northern Virginia, quite possibly putting it out of reach. Add a few points among military and vets moving to Obama, I suspect VA is out of reach, and hence the election, what with IA and NM being near-certs for Obama, and CO a probable.
But even facing defeat, McCain may want to prevent Obama from reaching 300 or 350 EVs, to blunt the cry of 'mandate' that would occur if Obama wins with 350+ EVs, and can pal around with 60-61 Senators and some 260 or so Congressmen. For, if this occurs, we will likely see the largest revamping of American priorities since 1981-82 or even 1933-34.
Other relatively close states that could use a few fingers' worth of walking about include North Carolina, and quite possibly Georgia and Mississippi. All three of these have valuable Senatorial races in play that have suddenly become competitive.
These three, and the four states I mentioned previously, are all states where McCain didn't bother to set up a campaign. In other words, he was caught flat-footed.
Now, how can this be addressed? I suspect here the CWA can be of assistance. I suspect in addition to increased cell phone usage to prevent GOP 'phreakers' from targeting Democratic phone banks, you could also have backup phone banks and telecom workers on hand to help identify and resolve issues.
We have to also trust the companies to actually try and resolve these problems. On the other hand, with McCain getting a little help from Verizon Wireless, we have to hold upper management's feet to the fire and allow Verizon's union employees (or are the guys running the switches and fighting phone jamming non-union 'management') to prevent any attempts to suppress legitimate telephone activity on the 4th.
I suspect Verizon and the NH Dems were caught flat-footed in 2002.
We cannot be caught flat-footed on this front on Nov. 4!